Life is indeed proving to be most challenging at the moment so apologies for the delay with this post. This summer seems to be passing by at break neck speed and I am utterly exhausted most of the time. As I have mentioned before in older posts, we chose to rent out our house for July & August to holiday makers to make some extra money to do some renovations. In the mean time, we have moved in to a friends house in a neighboring village.

Before we embarked on this adventure, I imagined that I would have lots of time to enjoy village life, do fabulous things with the kids every day and be able to cook wonderful feasts in the outdoor clay oven where we are staying.

But in reality, I have barely a moment spare after all the laundry and ironing for the clients at the house each week, and then the weekly changeovers to accommodate 14 new guests, not to mention the catering jobs and daily duties as wife and mother of two.

So, sadly I have not managed to light the clay oven even once as that would require time and attention which I just cannot spare.  In fact, I have found it very hard to do much creative cooking as I am limited by space and time. It’s all very frustrating.

BUT, despite all this moaning, I must say that we continue to eat very well indeed. There is no conventional oven where we are living now so most nights we have a BBQ outside on the patio and I just knock up some veggies to accompany it. Or I pop a few things in the slow cooker at lunchtime and leave it to do its thing all afternoon.

Spicy Veggie Stir FrySo I thought I would share some of these simple meals that we have been eating here …real everyday life, real everyday food. Nothing fancy but never dull, that’s my motto!

First off, a Quick Spicy Veggie Stir Fry to accompany any meat you might fancy on the BBQ (we had ours with slices of Lomo pork and grilled peppers). I have used yellow courgettes here with green peppers, fresh tomatoes and onion, Quick Spicy Veggie Stir Fryall fried up with a dollop of Harissa paste to make it hot, hot, hot! So simple, colourful and tasty. Just goes to show that you only need a few of the freshest ingredients to make something special.

Next, on a night when I was uninspired to cook and had just a pack of sausages in the fridge, I threw some things in a pan and made a surprisingly delicious Sausage & Potato Hash with Fried EggsSausage & Potato Hash with Fried EggsChunks of sausage, a few left over new potatoes, a courgette, a red pepper and an onion tossed together with some garlic and chili flakes. Crack in a couple of eggs and hey presto, a fresh approach to sausages, ready in minutes! This dish reminded me of my childhood favorite Pytipanna – a Swedish dish translated as ‘small bits in a pan’ which they serve with a fried egg. So for me, this was comforting and homely and made me very, very happy!

Salmon with Garlick Courgette Couscous & Cucumber, Fennel & Dill SaladMoving on to a couple of side dishes I used to accompany a pan fried fillet of salmon. First, a Garlicky Courgette Couscous. Certainly not a particularly novel idea but worth a mention none the less as it is part of the whole dish. Just fry sliced courgettes in olive oil and plenty of garlic and finish with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Then stir into your Couscous (made with stock). Yum. Cucumber, Fennel & Dill SaladServe alongside a Cucumber, Fennel & Dill Salad, dressed with a cream based vinaigrette. I found this salad recipe on BBC Good Food where they partner it with smoked salmon which is also lovely but it goes equally nicely alongside a fresh fillet too. This dish is summery, fresh and full of flavour.

So, I think that’s it for now. I don’t have time to add any more recipes although I have quite a few in reserves! They may have to wait until life chills out a bit. I must add that despite all the hard work and drama, I enjoy being busy and I know it’s all for a good cause. I guess it’s about finding a balance where some things have to slide a bit to allow others to get done. So I have compromised on my usual cooking efforts but not at all on taste! I hope you agree….